I think one of the hardest things to do in life is to live with joy in the midst of trials and challenges. It’s so easy to let life dictate to us our emotions and state of being. But in God, there is a joy available to us right where we are, no matter how good or bad the situation may be.
Today we’re going to make space together to simply open our hearts and minds to receive the joy of the Father. I hope and pray that you find real, life-changing joy in God’s presence today.
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6
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The joy of the Lord available to us in the Holy Spirit transcends all circumstances, relationships, and possessions. It is an internal joy fed to our hearts by the wellspring of joy the Father has toward us. God longs to make us a people marked by his joy. He longs to fill us with the knowledge of how thrilled he is to be our Father. He longs to make us a joyful people in every circumstance and season. 1 Peter 1:6-9 says,
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
We can have joy in the midst of trial and tribulation because we have a genuine faith that this life is not all there is. Our hope reaches far beyond the confines of this fleeting age of sin and separation from God and looks toward the day when we will live in perfect, face-to-face relationship with our Creator. Every trial and tribulation is an opportunity to cling to the truth that this world is not our home and to be filled with joy at the thought of what awaits us on the other side of this life.
James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” While God may not cause the various trials we face, he most certainly uses them to cause our joy to find its source in him alone. Our heavenly Father knows that if we place our joy in the fleeting and fickle circumstances of this life our lives will be an emotional rollercoaster rather than a reflection of how consistently good he is.
Your heavenly Father has a compassionate heart toward the problems you face. He never desires for you to act or try and drum up faith that everything will be all right. He longs to meet you at the very core of your trial and fill you with abundant joy that’s rooted in his love alone. He longs to guide you through the tough seasons of life that try and rob you of your allotted portion of joy. He longs to make your faith steadfast and sure so you can meet the tribulations of this world head-on with joy. Run to your Father today with every weight and problem. Ask him to guide you to the still waters that your soul might be restored. And receive all the joy he longs to give you today as you encounter his deep and powerful love for you.
May Mother Teresa’s words spur you toward a lifestyle of joy today:
“Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen.”
Extended Reading: James 1 or watch The Bible Project’s video on James.